Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pacific Northwest - Seattle

So the last leg of our trip ended in Seattle, WA. Just like Portland, we came for the food so I didn't really have many pictures I wanted to take except of the skyline. The night we drove in from Mt. Rainier, we checked into the hotel then went off to shoot the skyline from various spots.

The first spot was Kerry Park, which was packed with people.

Seattle skyline  and moon from Kerry Park Seattle skyline from Kerry Park

Next we headed to Pier 66 at the waterfront to get a closer POV. However, the viewing area was closed, so I ended up taking one from the bridge directly over the street.

Seattle skyline from Pier 66

3rd stop was an overpass overlooking the 5 freeway, with a great view leading into the city.

The 5 and Quest field, Seattle Washington The 5 freeway leading into Seattle

Finally, we headed to Alki beach for a panoramic view of the entire skyline.

Seattle skyline from Alki Beach

The rest of the time we spent shopping, and eating. Driving through downtown wasn't very fun, but we managed to get around to Pike Place Market, and a few random malls.

Pike place was cool but crowded. There were so many different food places, but I heard good things about the Pike place chowder so we got the sampler with New England Chowder, Smoked salmon chowder, seafood bisque, and corn chowder.

All good, but my stomach took a beating after that probably from all the cream.
I got some good eat recommendations before we left. Serious Pie from Peter & Olivia, and Salumi from my parents.
We wanted to get to Serious Pie for happy hour because they have smaller pizzas so you can try different kinds, but it didn't fit our schedule. First time around we ordered the Margarita with buffalo mozzarella, and the mushroom and truffle cheese. Both excellent, but we are suckers for a good Margarita.

We liked them so much we were contemplating ordering a 3rd....but we ended up going back for lunch another day and ordered the yukon gold potato and soft cooked egg with tomato and some other herbs. Again, both were good, but the egg/tomato was amazing.

We also hit up Salumi - the Batali family famous cured meat and sandwich shop. This was also on the food channel for best sandwich of the PNW for their oxtail sandwich. They only offer it a few times a year and it gets sold out in like 15 minutes. We were hoping they would still have some hot sandwiches left, but they were all sold out of the Porchetta when we arrived. Then they sold out of the meatball 5 people before we ordered. We ended up getting 2 cold cured meat sandwiches. The Mole salami, and the Coppa both with onions and peppers.

For sandwiches, I must say they were pretty damn good. We shared them while we waited for the ferry to Bainbridge island.

We walked around Bainbridge and had dinner at Cafe Nola, which was pretty good. We shared a salad and the short rib mole.

We also had homemade ice cream at Mora.

We did a few other random things and visited the REI flagship store, but Seattle was the end to our PNW road trip. We loved both cities as well as all the great hiking and nature that were just a short drive away.

That was the last big planned trip for the year, however we are going to make a weekend trip to mammoth when the fall colors are peaking in a few months. Last time we went, we were a bit too late and most of the color had passed. One thing about living around LA, is we really miss the seasons. Therefore, there may be a Vermont / NY trip planned for next year sometime in October.....we will see.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography
Landscape and Wildlife photography

Pacific Northwest - Mt. Rainier

All I can say about this place is wow! Simply beautiful with 360 degree breathtaking views. I would compare it to the great views hiking Whistler Mountain, but with the wildflowers blooming, I would put it a notch above. There was a bit of snow left, so we were probably a few weeks early for peak wildflower season, but we were fortunate enough to have great weather.

Since we were only there for 1.5 days, we concentrated hiking around the Paradise area. If we ever find ourselves here again, we will check out the Sunrise area, which I hear is suppose to be less crowded.

Hopefully the pictures capture the essence of our trip!

Bench Lake, Mt. Rainier National Park
View of Mt. Rainier from Bench Lake

Mt. Rainier peaking through the clouds at Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier National Park
View of Mt. Rainier from Reflection Lakes - I waited here a bit for the clouds to break but it never really peaked through the clouds.

We hiked counterclockwise up the Skyline trail, much of which was still covered in snow.
Skyline trail with wildflowers, Mt. Rainier National Park Hiking the Skyline trail with wildflowers, Mt. Rainier National Park Broadleaf Lupine wildflowers and Mt. Rainier, Mt. Rainier National Park Skyline trail with Avalanche Lilly wildflowers, Mt. Rainier National Park View from the top of Skyline trail, Mt. Rainier National Park
It was kind of a scramble to the top. Most people heading down just slid down on their ass.

We took the Golden Gate trail back down.

Hiking the Golden Gate Trail with wildflowers, Mt. Rainier National Park Golden Gate Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park

I did wake up for sunrise to capture some nice shots of Mt. Rainier with subtle lighting and no crowds, however it was completely fogged over. I still went out and waited around for hopes of the sun to burn through as it rose. About an hour after sunrise, I was able to capture a few shots of Mt. Rainier and Myrtle falls and a stream nearby.

Stream and Mt. Rainier, Mt. Rainier National Park Stream and Mt. Rainier, Mt. Rainier National Park Myrtle falls, Mt. Rainier National Park

I snapped a few wildflowers that caught my eye.

Sunlit Broadleaf Lupine, Mt. Rainier National Park Bunch of Broadleaf Lupine, Mt. Rainier National Park Broadleaf Lupine

Avalanche lillies wildflowers in bloom, Mt. Rainier National Park Avalanche Lilly - Jaime's favorite wildflower here

We were able to see plenty of wildlife, mainly common birds and deer roaming around the area. As we were driving down to a hiking location, we saw a car pulled over on the side of the road and a couple waved us down to stop. Way down in the valley was a black bear and her 2 cubs. Even with my 300mm + 1.4x converter, they were too far to get any real detailed shots and by the time they saw us 4 standing up there they started to move away. I only ended up getting off a few shots before they retreated back into the bushes, however it was very cool to see nonetheless. These are heavily cropped.

American Robin, Mt. Rainier National park American Robin

8/1 was our anniversary, so we ate dinner at the only resturant available inside the park at our lodge. It was either there or a cafe that had sandwiches.

Pasta and crab cakes were meh

Mushroom soup and the lemon cake were good....and I'm not even a big fan of mushrooms.

Our last leg of the PNW trip ended in Seattle, which I will post as soon as I sort through the pictures.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography
Landscape and Wildlife photography

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pacific Northwest - Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood

After Portland, we made our way over to the Columbia River Gorge for some all day hiking. We spend a whole day hiking the gorge, and then headed down to the Mt. Hood and surrounding areas the next day.
Our first hike in the gorge was the Multnomah - Wahkeena Loop Hike that looped us around 5 waterfalls in 5 miles.

Fairy falls was the second waterfall on the hike, and one of my favorites. I love how it splits out like a fan. The slow shutter really emphasized this.

Fairy Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Fairy Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon - second shot

The hike itself was great, filled with tons of trees, moss, and just green everywhere. Here are a few shots of a river winding through some of the moss:

Stream with moss, Columbia River Gorge, oregon
Stream with moss close-up, Columbia River Gorge, oregon

Look who also got the photo bug and decided to snap some pictures:

One of the last falls on the loop hike was Weisendanger falls. By this time the sun was above us, so I wanted to get it peaking through the clouds, catching the mist from the falls:
Weisendanger falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

I did get a few of Multnomah falls, but it was so crowded by the time we finished the loop that I didn't feel like breaking out my tripod to set it up.

After the loop hike we headed to Oneonta gorge for a 1 mile hike / swim to get to the waterfall at the end. This is not so much a hike as you have to walk through the gorge and at times wade through water. There was one section that was so deep, Jaime had to swim it. The water came to my upper chest, so I had to hold my gear above my head while wading through it.

The water was freezing, but the sun was out and it was a nice day for a swim. We also came prepared with swim clothes and water shoes, as reviews said you will get wet on this hike. There were a lot of people who did not know this and tried scaling the wall on the right which took 5x as long. To my surprise this was actually Jaime's favorite hike of the trip.....

Oneonta Gorge, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Oneonta Gorge, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon - second shot

After Oneonta, we headed to Elowah Falls, which was a 1.5 mile hike. When we got there the falls were misting, and the strong wind was pushing it way to the right so we just turned around and headed back to the car.

Last stop for the day was the 4 mile Eagle Creek trail to Punchbowl falls. We didn't arrive to the location until around 5pm and we were already pretty beat, but the trail itself was relatively flat.
Punch Bowl Falls, Oregon

We hiked a total of 12 miles that day. We had plans to check out Screen Door for dinner which is suppose to have real good fried chicken but we were so tired so we ended up getting gas and Popeye's haha.
The next day we headed south to Scott's Mills for some hiking. Both Abiqua Falls and Butte Creek Falls were in the same general area so we hit up both. The road down to Abiqua was sketchy; a 1-way road of mainly dirt, gravel and rocks. When we finally got down to the dead-end it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere....not a good place to be lost. The 1 mile hike was more of a scramble down. People have tied ropes to trees for assistance in steep areas which helped, but my legs were tired from the day before and carrying all my camera gear didn't help much.

The falls itself was very nice. After heading upstream, you end up in a huge cove which we had all to ourselves.

Abiqua falls, Oregon - second shot
Abiqua falls, Oregon
Abiqua falls, Oregon - third shot

Jaime passed the time by building rock sculptures while I was snapping away.

I had to wade through the river to get from side to side of the gorge, so she also amused herself by taking pics of me struggling and walking on the slippery rocks barefoot.

Jaime also wanted to take a pic of our here it is:

Butte Creek Falls was a short drive away so we headed there next. The hike was relatively flat, and only about 1 mile. The hike down led us to another cove, however a lot smaller than Abiqua. However, there was a cove behind so we were able to go behind the falls.

Behind Butte Creek Falls, Oregon

Butte Creek Falls, Oregon

River leading to Butte Creek Falls, Oregon

We ate lunch, and headed 2 hours NE to Government Camp, Mt. Hood. I was hoping for some clouds for a nice sunset from Trillium Lake, however the sky cleared up by sunset. I still snapped a few, capturing the last bit of light on Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood Sunset, Oregon

The next day I woke up for sunrise hoping for redemption. However, the sky was as clear as the night before so I waited for the sun to rise over the mountain and light up the remaining fog lingering around.
Mt. Hood Sunrise, Oregon

We did a lot of hiking over the 2-day span, but I wanted to pack it all in. My polarizer was my best friend for all these pictures, as it removed a ton of glare from the waterfall shots and the foreground, allowing me to capture the submerged rocks in the foreground.

We headed north 3 hours to Mt. Rainier National Park the next day which I will post on a separate entry.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography
Landscape and Wildlife photography